Building a leadership pipeline: Model

A kingdom perspective that pushes back lostness does not develop within a church without effort. Rather, it happens when we look past our church and multiply out. This is what the Multiplication Pipeline is all about.

We believe that churches plant churches. When we looked at the tremendous need for church plants in North America, we created a model built with the local church in mind—a model that would allow churches to discover, develop and deploy church planters from within their own congregations and multiply from there.

The new model

When we looked at the old model, we felt that many aspiring church planters needed more than a year to prepare. We also felt many churches lacked the tools necessary to equip individuals from within their church to move forward.

This new model mirrors most leadership pipelines. However, while most leadership pipelines look to develop leaders for internal needs, we are looking to send the leadership out. We created this resource to help churches, since discovering and developing church planters is the responsibility of the local church.

The greatest deficiency we are facing is people who feel ready to plant. So many are asking the questions: At what point am I ready? What do I need as I prepare? These are good questions, and the North American Mission Board’s new online, pre-assessment tool helps provide the answers.

By identifying a leader’s level of readiness, pre-assessment is based on the competencies and traits we look for in a church planter. Once pre-assessment is complete, we make a recommendation for one of three levels of the pipeline a participant should enter. Ultimately, it is up to the local church pastor to identify where they should begin.

After receiving feedback from many churches, we felt at least three years of development were needed to best prepare planters, so we designed the pipeline around three levels of possible training. Level one focuses on learning about ministry, church planting, theology and the personhood of a planter. Level two is leadership training. We expect people in this level are leading out in mission and making disciples. They need to show proficiency in skill and knowledge while producing fruit. Level three is focused on multiplication and honing skills in church planting and contextualization. This level will help the planter think through his next steps before he plants.

Why implement the Pipeline at your church?

If we truly want to see our cities and world transformed by the gospel, kingdom growth is vital. There simply is no better way to reach a neighborhood or community than to plant disciples who are going to make disciples. The pipeline is not another program or discipleship pathway; it is a biblical model for kingdom expansion.

How does a church implement this?

Two critical roles are needed to help discover, develop and deploy church planters in a church—the champion and the coach. The champion casts vision, creates a sending culture and invites people into the Pipeline. The coach meets with the individuals consistently throughout the training process and prepares them for their next step by helping them set achievable goals that ultimately lead them toward their calling to plant a church.

For many churches, this model is a shift. Unless the pastor is championing church planting, it will never get beyond a conversation. Implementing this will take intentionality and hard work. But, we believe this will multiply churches evangelistic and disciple-making efforts.

When will we see results?

This model was built for the long term; not a one-and-done scenario. It is a flywheel, but churches are going to have to commit to sending out their best if they truly want to see kingdom impact. The purpose is to be continually multiplying.

Initially, a church may find one or two who are willing to be sent out or be a part of a church planting team. But, over time, as the church continues to cast vision, create culture and invite people, it will begin to see great movement. The beauty of the pipeline is that it allows churches to work at their own pace.

We see this as a unique resource for the church to discover, develop and deploy people to send out as church planters and church planting team members. There is nothing as holistic in sequence, scope and process for church planting. As hard as it can be to lose some of your best leadership, we believe God blesses those who are faithful in living out the Great Commission.

Read to take the next step toward being a multiplying church? Visit to learn more.

Published July 18, 2017